If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, July 6, 2009

Great Pacific Northwest Vacation Part I: The Coast

We are back from the Great Pacific Northwest Vacation (GPNV) and I am very slowly immersing myself back into the regular world. The vacation was fabulous. Honestly spending 10 full days alone with b with no work or life responsibilities would have been more than enough for a perfect vacation but when you add the beauty of Oregon it really was a slice of heaven. One post will not possibly contain all we did and saw so today I'll describe the first half of the vacation--The Coast.

I met b in Seattle where--after a quick bite at Pike Place Market--we rented a car and took the ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula.
View from the Ferry

We've vacationed there in the past and decided to spend our first night on the road in a favorite town of ours--Sequim, WA. On our first vacation together we had decided that Sequim (pronounced Squim) would be our retirement town. It has changed a bit since then and we were pleasantly surprised to find a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. Service was unbelievably slow (they were a brand new establishment and not prepared for the rush of an almost full house on a Thursday evening) but the food was unbelievably good. We remembered that in this little retirement village there was a motel with a 1970's porn motif. The rooms had a jacuzzi, a bar (complete with vinyl bar chairs and complimentary wine glasses) and a fake fireplace. We were very lucky to find it again.

Fake Fire in Porn Motel

The next day we drove down the Hood Canal and then along the coast of Washington until we crossed over into Oregon. While the Washington coast is very lovely, you don't really get to see it while driving. Oregon, however, is all about beautiful highway views. We stopped at Cannon Beach, where we found an amazing coffee shop, [really the entire Pacific Northwest is about great coffee but this had amazing baked goods too] visited the ocean, and ate some seafood.

Cannon Beach, OR

By this time it was the weekend and we soon found out that my carefully planned campgrounds were all full. b was tired and needed to be off the road so we had our first--and last--experience with a KOA campground. KOA is about "kamping" and not camping. We pitched our rental tent and opted out of the sauna and the pancake breakfast. The next day we continued our journey and drove through sections of the beautiful Siuslaw Forest. More breathtaking views. We also drove by Sand Lake. Unfortunately we didn't take pictures but you can get a glimpse of it here. As you can imagine, it is a huge draw for the off-road vehicle crowd. We did stop at a beach filled with people parasailing.

Parasailing at the Beach

It was incredibly windy and since I was wearing nothing but a skimpy sundress we could stay for only a few minutes. One woman called me brave for attempting the beach in that dress. We continued our drive down the coast and continued to see Campground Full signs as we drove. So we opted for a motel night in Neskowin, OR. The motel was right on the beach facing Proposal Rock.

Proposal Rock

In the morning, when the tide was out, we were able to practice our katas on the beach right next to Proposal Rock. We continued down the coast on Sunday and were prepared to spend another night in a motel when we lucked upon a pretty little wooded campsite in Yachats, OR. It is a small town but two of the three restaurants had live music on a Sunday night. We had cocktails in one and dinner at the other. Unfortunately something in my seafood lasagna disagreed with me and I woke up feeling rather poorly. b drove us down the coast for a while and then stopped at a lovely viewpoint to let me sleep for a few hours. We spent that night in Bandon, OR. I felt a bit better after the nap, so we ventured out for a walk on the beach. On the access road we ran into Stinky the Skunk. b spoke nicely to Stinky and he eventually wandered off in search of dinner.

Stinky the Skunk

The beach itself was lovely but it was another incredibly windy day.

Sea Stacks at Bandon Beach, OR

By this time we were halfway through our trip and it was time to turn east, away from the coast, for our drive back. Tomorrow I'll post Part II: The Cities.


Julie said...

Welcome back! It's so good to "see" you again:) Thank you for the pictures! I've never been, and I appreciate seeing the landscape. The beaches and rocks are beautiful, and I love the boat picture with the woods in the background.

The motel sounds like fun, too. I look forward to Part II!

drax said...

Umm. Just got a call from a friend; seems he ran a google search with the terms "skimpy sun dress" and he was rather disappointed to find only pictures of beaches and one skunk...

Anyway! Welcome back. Great stuff!

Annie K said...

Thanks for sharing your trip and your photos. I've only been to the Pacific Northwest a few days, and I'll never forget the rain forest and the beaches at Olympic National Park.

dining set said...

Sharing your vacation experiences and photos are so amazing. Just like this, I can see that you had a great time in your vacation. All photos look so perfect.